Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 
Door Into The Dark

Door Into The Dark

David Wheatley

Proponents of the ‘best are leaving’ theory of emigration deplored the losses but were wary of the suggestion that providing a basic standard of living was any business of the Irish state. Anti-materialists feared prosperity could weaken the racial stock by making life too easy.

Space to Think

Space to Think

Ten Years of the Dublin Review of Books

We are very pleased to be publishing Space to Think, a handsome book of over 500 pages celebrating some of the finest writing from the first ten years of the Dublin Review of Books. Appearing here in print for the first time are some fifty essays on Irish, European and international literature, history and culture, drawn from the drb archive. Space to Think is published in October. Pre-order now for a special reader's discount.

The Wicked Uncle

The Wicked Uncle

Pádraig Murphy

Stalin learned from Lenin that ruthlessness in pursuit of what might appear an impossible goal could pay off. In addition, the Marxist inheritance deified the State, the bearer of the highest truth of historical progress, while within the state the party was assigned an absolute status.


The Bears and the Bees

Thomas McCarthy

Paula Meehan is an inspiring presence, the most important thinking poet of her generation. Still, it must be said that there are rogues and ruffians among poets too, persons of such low moral character that a blackthorn stick might as well be found in their hands as a pen.


Militant Agnostic

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

A short book from a veteran British philosopher and populariser of philosophy can be seen as a sustained argument against not religion nor science but the mistaken belief that defending the Enlightenment value of Reason necessitates insisting that all darkness can be explained away.


The Harp That Once

Fintan Vallely

A reprint of an important historical work on Irish music reveals that the Armagh-born collector Edward Bunting with some justice regarded Thomas Moore as having plagiarised his collected and published music and sanitised it, making himself wealthy and famous.



Terence Brown

Louis MacNeice’s career was a matter of negotiating between conflicting realities, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland North and South, Ireland and England, Europe and America, peace and war ‑ he chose London over Ireland and a then non-combatant US lest he miss history.


Cranking it Out

Mark Fitzgerald

The musician John Beckett, cousin of the writer, comes across as a difficult character – some thought a crank. Stories abound of his rudeness, especially with drink taken. His musical tastes too were extreme: Handel was too commercial, Beethoven merely ‘souped-up Haydn’.


Speaking History

Sean Sheehan

Herodotus, "the father of history", is believed to have delivered excerpts of his work to a live audience, as a performer of sorts, displaying the results of his travels and research. He was part of a culture where literature was still essentially orally circulated, despite the "published" nature of his written text.


The Ends of History

Ciaran Brady

The figure of the Polish-born historian Lewis Namier is at the centre of an entertaining and hugely informative new study of intellectuals and of practising historians ‑ not always a synonymous set ‑ in the post-1945 atmosphere of the Cold War.


A Brief Dream

David McConnell

A thoroughly researched novel centred on the events leading to the 1798 rebellion in the North is both a gripping narrative and a fascinating account of the half-forgotten history of political Presbyterianism, a movement in touch with the most radical ideas in France and America.


The Great Dying

John Bannigan

In the eighty-million-year time span from the mid-Permian to the mid-Jurassic periods, two massive extinctions occurred, as well as four of lesser magnitude. In the biggest of these, 250 million years ago, ninety-five per cent of existing plant and animal life perished.


Far from Home

Carol Taaffe

Mia Gallagher’s new novel is a capacious one. It is difficult to capture all at once, and as such it is a work that would repay returning to. As the playful cabinet of curiositiesdevice that it features might suggest, it is also a novel that might appear very differently on each reading.


This Island Now

George O’Brien

One of the most distinctive aspects of O’Faoláin’s ‘The Bell’ was its reportage, a genre related to British and American traditions of documentary writing, a departure from the ‘belles lettres’ conception and a socially conscious attempt to extend literature’s democratic appeal and demographic reach.


Through the Looking Glass

Mark S Burrows

The surprises inherent in poetry serve the important function of unsettling us, of luring us into what Rilke spoke of as ‘the open’. They might even succeed in confounding our certainties, and thus widening our capacities of perception and experience.


Travels with William

Karl Whitney

The writer William Burroughs, an experimentalist in life as well as fiction, assumes a heroic position in a new book by British neurosurgeon Andrew Lees, representing the intersection of art and science, of empiricism and experimentalism.


Brothers in Arms

Jeremy Kearney

The British Labour Party is in deep crisis, with the majority in the constituency parties, many of them recently joined-up members or supporters, strongly in support of new leader Jeremy Corbyn while the majority of the party’s MPs are equally opposed and keen to replace him.


Holding Out

Joseph O’Connor

Mary O’Malley’s poems have seen a thing or two, but the light has not gone out. They are honest, tough, tender, beautiful, alive to the redemptive possibilities of Ireland’s languages, tuned into popular speech and ready to walk into the world and find something worth loving.


Cat Menagerie

Clíona Ní Ríordáin

Afric McGlinchey’s second collection revolves around a central conceit – the fisher cat, familiar of the fifteenth century alchemist Dom Perlet. Drowned by ‘vigilantes’ in the Seine, the animal reappeared with its master some time later when they took up their old pursuits anew.


Suffer Little Children

Liza Costello

A collection of poems by Connie Roberts, who grew up in an institution after being removed from a violent home in rural Ireland, portrays her horrific childhood world both inspiringly and artistically, while refusing to ‘tell it slant’ or to ‘gussy it up / in Sunday-best similes’.


After the Catechism

Carmel Heaney

Morality and moral behaviour, based on informed choices, lead to good laws and good policy. There is a concern that, if religious education disappears from schools, society could bankrupt the moral capital accumulated through centuries of Christian faith – unless we have something strong to replace it.


The Malevolence of Occupation

David Lloyd

Palestine was once the hub of ideas, goods and people circulating through West Asia and North Africa: as a Bethlehem professor reminded us, the ancient caravan route used to pass nearby. Now he cannot even travel the twenty minutes to his former family home in Jerusalem without a special permit.


A Bird Pipes Up

Billy Mills

There is always some question around the best, or perhaps the least-worst, way of translating poetry. One view is that translating verse into prose leaves out almost everything that makes the original worth reading in the first instance.


Father of the Artist

Barry Sheils

Mike McCormack’s new novel is a successful and moving work, not least because it contains a public reckoning at its centre – a plea for accountability not typical in Irish writing, which remains overly impressed by its grim array of scapegrace dandies, scouring matriarchs and domesticated Oedipuses.


Back to the Future

Niall Crowley

Ireland’s experience of nation-building, which in reality was a far from adventurous one, was first driven by Catholicism and cultural nationalism and then by economic development and human capital.


The Long Note

Brendan Lowe

The opening poem in Paddy Bushe’s new collection gives a sense of an art emerging from a relationship with the natural processes occurring constantly in a particular place, processes which transcend time, while the music played is a different phenomenon from the songs ringing in the New Year down in the village.


Sad in the Suburbs

Brendan Mac Evilly

Our image of Maeve Brennan is most often of an elegant and sophisticated woman looking very at home in a New York apartment. Her Dublin stories, however, portray frustrated lives in a respectable but constricted world, the middle class suburban world in which she grew up.


Opening Out

Afric McGlinchey

In a collection of almost sublime purity, Vona Groarke moves from a youthful confidence inspired by love, to a state of ‘chassis’, and finally to a point where she looks outward from the confines of the symbolic house which has served her so often as an image.


Landscapes of Displaced Desire

Tom Tracey

A debut collection of short stories is fraught in mood, yet maintains a composed tone alongside meticulous description. At times it feels like a contemporary ‘Dubliners’ written for the People’s Republic of Cork, shot through with its author’s impressive ‘descriptive lust’.


Watching the Moods

Gerard Smyth

Coming just a few years after his ‘Collected Poems’, Macdara Woods’s new collection demonstrates the progression towards a lifelong unitary project; poem adds to poem, book to book. Because of that consistency poems from forty years ago still wear well.


A Room of her Own

Brenna Katz Clarke

In the Hogarth Press’s series of modern adaptations of Shakespeare, Anne Tyler takes on ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, giving us a twenty-first century fairy tale involving not the defeat of a woman but her acceptance of the different roles and temperaments of men and women.


Press Button B

A raft of books from the US suggests that as a society we have made a Faustian pact with the tech giants and there is now no getting out of it. But have we really lost all freedom of action? Could we not, individually, just turn off our phones for a few hours and go to the library?


Getting to Grey

Liam Hennessy

Bipolar disorder has been explained as an attempt to create a world in which everything is either black or white. The illness can only be treated, it is suggested, when the important third element is introduced.


Astonished at Everything

Peter Sirr

Generosity and largeness of vision seem to meet happily in the poems of Uruguayan-French writer Jules Supervielle, which seem to cover great distances in short spaces.


All or Nothing

Joschka Fischer

Those Germans who argue so vehemently against a so-called transfer union should realise that the EU has always been such a union. France got the CAP for its large rural economy and Germany the common market for its strong industry. Little has changed since.


Birds, beasts and flowers

Gerald Dawe

DH Lawrence’s poetry offers a record of the powerful current of physical pleasure, the elusive joy of witnessing that which is different, and the kind of opinionated prickliness when things are not what they seem to be or should be.


The Stilled World

Nicola Gordon Bowe

Unsentimental, sparing and unspecific, the painter Patrick Pye has sought figurative images to represent symbolically “the archetypes of our humanity” depicted in an alternative universe where expiation has been achieved.


Posh Spice

Speaking clearly and enunciating one's vowels may not always gain one admission to a tennis club in which one is not welcome, but the experience of trying to learn how to do so can still be an enjoyable and memorable one.


The Year Without Summer

The eruption of a volcano on an Indonesian island in April 1815 - the most explosive such event in history - had long-lasting and devastating effects across the globe. It is the subject of a conference in Galway this weekend.


Kathmandu Letter

Public interest defender ‘LB Thapa’ can no longer practise the law. Subjected to death threats, he now lives anonymously with his family in poor conditions, but this is scarcely unusual, he says, for Nepalese lawyers who won’t lie.


Under The Weather

So, it's autumn. No need to be depressed. There are apples, blackberries, damsons and bright, golden woodlands to be enjoyed for a few months yet before winter draws in.


A Personal Vendetta

Thomas Dickson, one of three men murdered in 1916 by the possibly deranged Captain John Bowen-Colthurst, has been accused of editing an anti-Semitic Irish newspaper. The paper, ‘The Eye-Opener’, may have been scurrilous, but it is doubtful if it was anti-Semitic.


The Fog Persists

A week has passed and we are no wiser about who exactly was behind Turkey’s attempted coup. This is scarcely surprising as we still don’t know who was behind the country’s previous coups either. One thing, however, is certain: President Erdoğan will use it to further entrench his power.



Many of the prescriptions and proscriptions of the Catholic church - in the days when it was able to lay down the law - appeared to make some kind of sense, while others were more mysterious. None more so than the disapproval of long engagements.


If You Liked This ...

The digital revolution has undoubtedly brought us many benefits and made a lot of things easier, but that does not mean that we should welcome what it has delivered in its more recent phases, or what it might have in store for us in the future.


Lost without eu

One can strike off on one's own of course, off into the North Atlantic if one wants, but what is one leaving behind? And will it eventually appear that there are a few bits missing here and there?


Flattering the People

Many British and Irish commentators have commented on the rancorous and perhaps deluded mood of large sections the British electorate. But some prefer to turn their fire on the educated and the cosmopolitan, guilty, it seems, of gross sins of contempt and condescension.


Au Revoir, Europe

Internationalist British journalist, sixtysomething but not a bad catch, seeks Polish, Italian, French or Irish woman with intellectual interests for quick marriage and happiness ever after in the European dolce vita.


I do I do I do

A number of cases of bigamy which came before the courts in Edwardian Dublin demonstrate that the crime could be entered upon for a variety of motives, not all ignoble.


Poems Upstairs: New Poets from the North of Ireland

Readings from poets featured in New Poets from the North of Ireland, edited by Sinéad Morrissey and Stephen Connolly. Wed 1 June, 7pm.


I’ll Mind Your Money

The wives of many of the Dublin poor received an unexpected bonus during the First World War while their husbands were away at the front in the form of 'separation money'. For many this was the first regular payment they'd ever had. Unfortunately not all of them spent it wisely.


Ideal Homes

A distant prospect of a life of ease in the Big House is intoxicating to many. Nevertheless, not everything is necessarily as wonderful as it seems and the servants in particular can be a frightful problem.


Carcanet’s Emerging Poets: Adam Crothers, Caoilinn Hughes and Helen Tookey

Three of Carcanet Press’s finest emerging poets, all distinguished alumnae of Carcanet’s bestselling New Poetries anthology series who have gone on to publish highly successful debut collections. Sat 11 June, 6.30pm.


The Mob and the Jews

Two years after the opening of the Nazi extermination camps there was widespread anti-Jewish rioting in Britain, resulting in the burning of synagogues, destruction of property and desecration of graveyards.

New Books

Irish Literature

Featuring The Found Voice by Denis Sampson and Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry.


World Literature

Featuring Graham Swift's Mothering Sunday and debut novel What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell.


Irish History & Politics

Featuring new biographies of Percy French and Daniel Binchy.


World History & Politics

Featuring a ISIS: A History and a book about Churchill and Ireland.


Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring Patrick Deeley's memoir The Hurley-Maker's Son.


World Culture, Philosophy & Science

Featuring The Way We Die Now by Seamus O'Mahony and artist Grayson Perry's book Playing to the Gallery.


Ireland 1912 - 1922

Featuring a study of welfare and healthcare reform in revolutionary and independent Ireland, The End of the Irish Poor Law?


More New Books ...